Skip to Main Content
my account

Powers of Attorney

This guide will help you understand the different types of powers of attorney and how to obtain one.

Medical Powers of Attorney

Medical Power of Attorney

What does it do?

A medical power of attorney gives someone else the right to make decisions about their medical care on their behalf.

How long does it last?

A medical power of attorney is usually a kind of durable power of attorney - meaning that it will last after the principal has been incapacitated. According to Section 166.152(g) of the Texas Health and Safety Code, it lasts until:

Why would I need one?

In the event that you cannot make decisions about your own medical care, this document would allow someone you trust to make those decisions for you. It is a common part of later-life planning and legal preparations for people with disabilities. 

Note that a medical power of attorney differs from a "living will," which allows you to state what medical procedure you do and do not want performed. For example, a living will would allow you to tell doctors that you do not want to receive a blood transfusion. A medical power of attorney does not discuss specific procedures but instead gives someone else the authority to make decisions about those procedures for you. For more information about living wills and other advanced directives, please see the "Advanced Directives for Medical Care" page of our guide to Wills and Directives.

Texas Law:

Understanding the Law:


What if I Don't Have a Medical Power of Attorney?

If a patient is incapacitated and there is no document listing their healthcare wishes (like a power of attorney), state law lists who can consent to certain medical treatments for them. In order of priority, they are:

  • the patient's spouse
  • an adult child of the patient who has the waiver and consent of all other qualified adult children of the patient to act as the sole decision-maker
  • a majority of the patient's reasonably available adult children
  • the patient's parents
  • the individual clearly identified to act for the patient by the patient before the patient became incapacitated, the patient's nearest living relative, or a member of the clergy.

This law only allows these people to consent to certain medical treatments. Please read the text of the law for details and exceptions.

Texas Law:

Understanding the Law: